RALEIGH – Republican and former Rep. Robert Brawley says he will file this morning to run against Gov. Pat McCrory in the March 15 gubernatorial primary.
“We need to be more transparent in the way we run government. We can’t just do things and then tell people later,” said Brawley on Wednesday.
In 2014, Brawley lost his primary bid for re-election to the N.C. House to John Fraley. Since then, he’s built a strong grassroots following in his Iredell county area among vehement opponents of the Interstate 77 toll lanes, due to begin construction later this year. He had originally said he would run again for his House seat. He is an insurance agent by profession, but this will not be the first statewide election he has pursued, most recently coming up short in a bid for N.C. insurance commissioner in 2004. For this campaign Brawley says he will focus on transportation and education issues.
“I think the state of North Carolina needs to do more to fulfill our obligation to provide a good education for all children in the state,” said Brawley.
Brawley’s decision to challenge a sitting Republican governor is not totally out of left field. According to newspaper reports at the time, in 1997 as a member of the N.C. House Brawley created turmoil in the Republican Party after reportedly backing Democrat Jim Black for Speaker over Republican Harold Brubaker in a deadlocked vote. He ultimately voted for Brubaker after internal negotiations.
Later, in 2012-2014, Brawley bucked then-Speaker Thom Tillis on a series of issues that ultimately resulted in Brawley surrendering his gavel as Finance Chairman in the House and losing his primary.
Brawley plans to file for the Republican gubernatorial primary later this morning, saying he feels confident that he has the votes and financial backing to run a viable campaign. If he puts McCory out of the race, Brawley could face Democrat and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper or Durham’s Ken Spaulding, a former state House member, in the general election.
The McCrory campaign declined to comment on Brawley’s entry.